definitions + disclaimers
Yoga Therapy vs. Yoga Classes
Yoga Therapy is a whole-person mind-body approach that has roots in Indian philosophy and emerging branches in the ever-evolving worlds of exercise science, evolutionary biology, and neurobiology. Its inclusion within a continuum of care is relatively new, but quickly gaining recognition as a viable, trustworthy professional practice. Therapeutic yoga has been and continues to be studied heavily in medical research institutions and has repeatedly been shown to be highly effective for a variety of mental and physical conditions. Trained and certified yoga therapists - especially those with credible co-specialties - can provide safe, effective practices that can fill in "gaps" that often occur within established medical traditions and systems.
Studio yoga classes are not yoga therapy
If a doctor or another medical professional has recommended yoga for a specific reason, it's worth knowing that most yoga teachers have only a fraction of the education and training that is required to earn the designation of Certified Yoga Therapist.
It is also worth knowing that yoga teacher trainings can be full of false information, erroneous claims, and practices based on "ancient" or "traditional" wisdom, i.e., magical thinking. A majority of trainings revolve around a pastiche of popular beliefs and trends in diet and fashion culture and the so-called "wellness" field. Most yoga "lineages" (actually commercial brands) are dogmatic and manipulative and can be extremely harmful on many levels. "Correct alignment," as espoused in Iyengar, Ashtanga, and other so-called classical yoga methods, is an example of this.
To be a Certified Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists, practitioners must complete an accredited yoga therapy training diploma program that meets core IAYT competencies, write a qualifying exam, and adhere to a strict code of ethics that includes working within the scope of practice that their training encompasses. Most programs are two to three years in length, and some are more scientifically valid than others.
Jools' professional work honours the therapeutic philosophical and physical underpinnings of contemporary yoga, while also working from strong foundations in the sciences of anatomy and physiology, neurobiology, evolutionary biology, and empirical psychology - all key to working within an accountable, regulated health care system.
Jools works with her clients to co-create personalized, evidence-based support practices for those encountering challenges in the areas outlined. Her Body-centred Therapy work provides wholistic practices that fit well into interdisciplinary health teams, particularly in the areas of addictions and eating disorders, systemic chronic conditions such as MS, RA, and FMS*, and aftercare for cancer treatment and many types of surgery.
If you have a chronic condition or are recovering from surgery, it is important for you to discuss any concerns with your family doctor prior to your participation; ask if the methods described here are safe for your specific health conditions. In some instances you may be required to supply a doctor's permission note to Jools prior to commencement of therapy.
A message from Jools
"My work is based on education, training, and life and professional experience. Change isn't easy, and it's usually not very quick. I do not promise magic bullets, profess to be a ‘healer’ or 'shaman,' sell dietary plans, supplements, gimmicks, gadgets, essential oils, or other 'remedies.'
"I do not adhere to a specific yoga 'lineage' or brand, or follow a leader, teacher, or guru. Ask me about these if you want to know why."
*Multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia syndrome
International Association of Yoga Therapists